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First Team - Match centre

Blofield United
Harleston Town
Sat 17 Feb 14:30 - Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination - Premier Division Full time

Blofield Utd 0 Harleston Town 4

All too easy for the League Leaders

Blofield suffered an early blow before their game against league leaders Harleston with Elliot Gibbs being injured in the warm up. The watching Danny Mckail was therefore drafted into the squad, with young Reece May making his first start.

Blofield Starting XI: Ian Stones, Abdul Ferej, Kris Hart, Tom Wright, James Basey Fisher ©, Matt Banham, Jack Robinson, Dan Stobbart, Orren Oliver, Will Bennett, Reece May. Subs: Danny Mckail, Ben Watson, Isaac Mace.

The pitch, which had taken a battering a fortnight earlier, was still soft & bumpy in places but considering all the wet weather we’d recently had, wasn’t too bad. The visitors made light of these conditions this though and took advantage of yet another sloppy start from Blofield, racing into a two-nil lead within the first five minutes.

Firstly, Scott Roberts picked the ball up from midfield and from fully 25 yards, arrowed a shot into the top corner of the net for a stunning opening goal.

The same player almost got through again, only to be thwarted by the on - rushing Stones but a minute later, Cheese turned Basey - Fisher and unselfishly laid the ball across to Stone who passed the ball into an empty net to put Harleston two up.

After this frenetic opening, the game settled down, though with Harleston in total control. The home side were struggling to get anything going and far too often passes were going astray. They did fashion half a chance in the 20th minute as a long Stones kick found Oliver racing through but his first - time effort was well wide.

Harleston responded and probably should have increased their lead. In the 22nd minute, a Cheese cross went across the six-yard box with no Harleston player able to tap the ball in and a minute later the impressive Roberts had another long - range effort on target, this time tipped over the bar by Stones.

From the resultant corner, skipper Howard rose superbly and looked to have scored only for Stones to make a fantastic one handed save.
Blofield made an early substitution which saw Ben Watson, recently signed from Poringland, make his debut in place of May. This still didn’t disrupt Harleston as Cheese once again was heavily involved, this time heading on for Morrissey who shot just wide.

Little had been seen of Blofield in attack, such was the away side’s dominance and their frustration was summed up in the 28th minute as Oliver’s long - range effort sailed well over the bar.

Imrie was next to show for Harleston, his shot saved from an over worked Stones and then Cheese once again had another effort saved by the home keeper.

Finally, the home side threatened in the 41st minute as Oliver’s pace took him past two defenders into the penalty box and his stabbed cross was just outside the reaches of Bennett.

This was really the only time the Harleston goal was threatened in the entire first half as the Referee’s whistle blew in what was an impressive dominant display from the league leaders.

Half Time: Blofield Utd 0 Harleston Town 2

I would guess a few harsh words were said in the home dressing room at half time as the opening ten minutes of the second half saw Blofield in a more determined mood.

In the 48th minute a Robinson cross found Stobbart who teed up Wright who unfortunately blazed over.

This gave the home side the belief though and they fashioned their best chance of the game five minutes later. A wonderful back heel by Oliver sent Bennett away and his swerving shot seemed to deceive Pauling only for it to go the wrong side of the far post.

Harleston responded and Cheese once again the focal point for Harleston, his shot being deflected over on the hour mark.

Back came Blofield and Wright’s cross two minutes later found Oliver, who, off balance, could only shoot wide.

Certainly, Blofield’s performance had improved but they still hadn’t really opened up the visitor’s defence and their task of getting back into the game was laid to rest as Harleston got the all important third goal in the 70th minute.

A long ball was chased down by Cheese, and having spotted keeper Stones rushing out, managed to curl the ball round him and into the empty net. The Harleston strikers reward was to be instantly substituted, with Fuller taking his place.

The fourth and final goal came from the penalty spot. Subs Fuller and Delaney combined to set up the latter only for Fuller to somehow get the ball tangled up in his feet. However, the ball found its way out to Morrissey and he was brought down by Mace in the penalty area. Fuller stepped up to plant the ball past Stones to make it four nil.

This was a very disappointing display from the home side showing none of the quality both in defence and attack that had been on show a couple weeks earlier against Mulbarton.

Taking nothing away from the Harleston’s performance though which was very impressive and from the games I have seen, they are the best side that Blofield have played in the league this season.

The Beaver’s have a massive game this weekend against bottom side Reepham and manager Didwell will be hoping for vast improvements from all his players.

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Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
10. Wroxham Res 30 39
11. Beccles Town 30 38
12. Blofield United 30 33
13. Mattishall 30 33
14. Acle United 30 31
15. Stalham Town 30 27
16. Reepham Town 30 6

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